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Apple Releases iPod 2.1 Update, Announces Belkin Accessories

Alongside the launch of iTunes for Windows, Apple has updated the software for recent iPods equipped with a dock connector. iPod Software 2.1 now transfers the On-The-Go playlist to iTunes, no longer turns the backlight off after a few seconds while you’re using the iPod’s controls, changes the battery meter to a solid bar versus a set of five indicator levels, and improves scrolling through large playlists. For Windows users, the update enables playback of AAC-encoded music files, such as those purchased from the iTunes Music Store. The update also adds a Music Quiz game: the iPod plays a selection of music from your library, and you need to choose the correct song from a list of five titles.

The software also supports two new Belkin accessories, also announced today. The $50 Belkin iPod Voice Recorder plugs into the top of the iPod and enables you to record hours of voice memos, interviews, and lectures using an omnidirectional microphone. The device includes a 16mm speaker for playback, requires no extra software, and synchronizes to iTunes when the iPod is connected to a Mac or Windows computer. Belkin also introduced the $100 Belkin Media Reader for iPod, a unit that plugs into the iPod’s dock connector port and accepts a variety of storage cards used in digital cameras: Compact Flash (Type 1 and 2), Smart Media, Secure Digital (SD), Sony Memory Stick, and MultiMedia Card (MMC). You can then use the device to store digital photos on the iPod for later transfer to a computer. iPhoto recognizes the iPod as a photo storage device and can import the pictures into your photo library.

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